Cattle, corn and dairy producers – commodities that most of National Famers’ members grow and raise – face significant critical barriers in achieving financial solvency. The financial loss for conventional cattle ranchers nearly doubled between 2014 and 2019 with the loss per cow increasing by more than 92 percent; conventional corn farmers experienced negative production value on their operations, and dairy producers lost $1.27 per hundredweight of milk produced in 2017 (USDA ERS). Financial and business management and marketing strategies education were identified by National Farmers as a main critical barrier impacting all farmers of these commodities – even more profoundly affecting beginning farmers and ranchers, many of whom are facing additional challenges and financial hurdles at the outset of their careers. This is because beginning farmers and ranchers often face the hurdles of land and equipment acquisition, lack of access to capital due to lack of credit history, costs of raising young families, and, student loan debt among others. National Farmers saw education, training, and technical assistance as being critical to reversing the negative financial conditions of beginning farmers and ranchers and restoring financial solvency to cattle, dairy, and grain farms and ranches operated by beginning farmers and ranchers. However, in order to provide this critical education to a significant number of producers across the multiple states, National Farmers needed additional financial resources.


With prior grant award success utilizing Morrison’s grant writing services, National Farmers engaged Morrison to prepare its proposal for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BRFDP). National Farmers sought to enhance the sustainability and success of beginning conventional cattle, dairy, and grain producers through an expansion of their FarmStarts program. Through educational seminars in 15 different states and a mentoring program, National Farmers’ goal was to increase the knowledge and skills of 1,260 beginning and prospective conventional cattle, dairy, and grain producers in the areas of financial and risk management training, farm financial benchmarking, cattle marketing strategies, feed grain marketing strategies, dairy marketing strategies and general risk management principles. Morrison worked closely with National Farmer’s leadership to develop and submit a competitive application.


National Farmers was awarded $600,000 from NIFA’s BFRDP to provide training, education, outreach and technical assistance to cattle, dairy, and grain producers in 15 states – one of just 32 awardees nationwide. Since 2014, Morrison has helped National Farmers achieve more than $1.2 million in grant funding to support their organization’s efforts.

About the client

National Farmers, based in Ames, Iowa, is a nationwide farmer cooperative providing educational programs and services to ~5,000 livestock, dairy and grain producers in 26 states. They are a member-based commodity organization that also provides marketing services for their members, negotiating with major ag industry buyers to improve their members’ bottom line.


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